Network News 13 September

Network News

September 2018


  • Convenor’s Message
  • Next Village Day
  • NELN Talk – “Greeny Flat” affordable housing
  • Matt’s Big Walk
  • Nepalese Fundraising Dinner
  • Earthship Rising!
  • Homebuilding update
  • Narara Ecovillage joins international network
  • Steamy weeding
  • Spring is in the air!
  • Sam Graham Mindful at Mamas
  • No waste Matcham/Holgate produce share:
  • Play School – Sat 6th Oct
  • Blues Jam at Hardy’s Bay – Sun 7th Oct
  • Michael Jackson – Fri 12th Oct
  • Free Tax Help


Convenor’s Message

During the energy crisis of the 1970s, New Mexican architect Michael Reynolds came up with the idea of creating environmentally friendly structures that do not draw on nonrenewable resources to support modern living. The designs have been used around the world, and about 3,000 Earthships have been built, most  in the United States.  However, this summer there are workshops coming up in every state of Australia.


With energy prices causing havoc to our standard of living, perhaps earthships are the answer? Find out more:


Village Day – September 29th 2018: 10.30am-4.00pm

Narara Ecovillage entrance

Join us for another exciting Village Day!  It’s full steam ahead for more activities to involve members and visitors.


NELN Talk – 10.30-11.30am

Greeny Flat

Andy Lemann’s “Greeny Flat” affordable housing

Conceived, designed, and built by Bowral Architect/Builder, Andy Lemann, The Greeny Flat affordable housing system is based on a Triple Bottom Line philosophy which aims to improve the Environmental, Financial and Social outcomes of the choices we make.

A big part of what makes it ‘affordable’ is the low operating and maintenance costs which add up to huge savings over the life of the home (and its occupants) and a big part of what makes it sustainable is the fact that it is ‘energy positive’ i.e. it produces more energy than it uses over a year.

It will be good to see Andy again – he joined in a working bee last time he was here.  He’s passionate about helping people build affordable housing that’s, low-maintenance, water-conserving, fire resistant, elderly friendly, healthy, recyclable, small footprint (57sqm), infill housing, close to services and public transport.

After the talk, Andy hopes to be around most of the day to absorb the Village Day happenings and is happy to chat. Click here to view a brief summary of the Goals and Strategies of “Greeny Flat”.

  • What is NEV all about? @ 11:30:  A short presentation; your questions answered.
  • Bodhi Farm – ‘Farmers of Enlightenment’ Talk @ 12.15pm: Lee Stickells, Associate Professor in Architecture at the University of Sydney, will share his research & interest in the potential for architecture to shape other ways of living.
  • House plan Showcase @ 1.00pm: A couple who have begun construction and another member who has plans ready to go, will be sharing their design ideas and plans.
  • Site Tours @ 2.15pm – Our popular and knowledgeable tour guides will be in demand as usual; there will be multiple tour groups to join.
  • Food Justice Presentation @ 3.00pm: Permaculture Designer & Environmental Activist, Emet Degirmenci, will share her knowledge about empowerment through food sovereignty & social-ecological principles for community building.
  • Join the Natural Builders down at the campground (10am-4pm) We’ve finished the earth floor with 5 coats of linseed and beeswax.  We’ll finish the bottle wall and be ready to render the cob and light straw panels. Then the 6 burner BBQ can be installed!


Matt’s Big Walk: Wed 12th — 23rd Sept

Matts walk2

We have some special people in Narara Ecovillage.  Matt Lloyd is one of those, together with his wife Majella.  They in turn have met some special people in their life’s journey.

In Matt’s words: “Some that make you stop and think, wow, what a gem you are.”

Matt worked with such a person whilst he and Majella were working as volunteers for a leprosy organization in Nepal in 2006. His name is Bidur.

“A few years later I was delighted to hear that this really kind hearted, hard-working Nepalese farmer had come to live in Australia. Along with his wife Binu and young son, they moved from Sydney to Dubbo to comply with a 2-year rural residency plan. They adapted well to the life there and after 5 years have remained and settled well, helping other newcomers to settle in to the community. They now also have another 2-year-old boy, Xavier.”

Everything changed for them this year when Bidur, who had been suffering bad headaches for a while, was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, with a tumour on the brain.

Bidur’s initial treatment was at Sydney’s RPA hospital where he stayed for several months.  Back home in Dubbo, it’s anticipated there will be many more trips to Sydney. All the while there is rent to pay, mouths to feed, energy bills and more.

Earlier in the year, Matt was contemplating how he would celebrate his 50th birthday with family and friends.  But when he received the news, he decided that he would put his drive and energy into a fundraising event for Bidur’s family.  Already helping to pay their rent, Matt realized that life was going to be very tough without more support.

Matt says: “This is a very proud family. Asking for help is not their thing at all. While I couldn’t think of any group of people that would be more grateful for some help, I realize that doing a campaign to raise money like this does not sit easily with them”.

“So, in the 10 days leading up to the 23rd of September (my 50th), I am going to walk the full 250Km of the Great North Walk from Newcastle to Sydney.

That’s about 10 hours a day, (pretty much all bush track.) For 10 days straight”. Matt has never attempted anything like this before and sees it as a huge challenge.

Matt has already achieved his initial goal of $10,000 and wants to keep fundraising to help the family’s future.

So, whether you’d like to help him raise money for a friend in real need or just simply donate as a 50th present, Matt would be really grateful either way.

All money raised will go directly to this family. Rent, bills, food, family expenditures, medical cost etc are some of the immediate concerns for them.

It’s going to be a tough walk, but with your donation behind him and knowing where and why WE are doing it, Matt believes it can be achieved. Matt’s NepalTube interview can be watched here.  Or visit the support page:

There is also a fundraising dinner at Narara Ecovillage on Tuesday, 18th September.  See Nepalese dinner below.

Nepalese fundraising dinner – Tues 18th Sept; 6pm

Nepalese food

The theme and menu will be about Nepal to honour Bidur, for whom Matt is raising his funds. Although a week into his 250 km walk, Matt will make a diversion to come into the village via Strickland Forest, where he’ll be welcomed by a group of children who will escort him to the dinner.

A big thank you to member Suzanne, who has very kindly agreed to help us to create some authentic Nepalese food in the kitchen. Our vegetarian menu will include flavoursome dishes such as soya curry, lentil dhal and aloo ko achar (potato salad), followed by a dessert of halwa (semolina) or coconut ice-cream. Dinner will be served to children at 6pm, adults 6.15pm

Tickets are $10 per adult or $5 per child; this will include a ticket for a lucky door prize. There will also be a silent auction on the night, which will include offerings such as an 8-hour day of plumbing, and a raffle.

So please don’t forget your wallets as there will be an assortment of great prizes.

NELN members are cordially invited and RSVP’s are urged ASAP to Candy Disch along with dietary requirements. All dishes will be GF except for the halwa dessert.

If you are interested in the silent auction / raffle, but can’t make it on the night, please contact Majella.  Or just wish to donate:

Earthship Rising!

Earthship Team

Candy’s 2 bedroom earthship is based and inspired by the design principles of New Mexican architect Michael Reynolds to promote sustainability (but on a smaller scale).

Come and see the 350 tyres (tamped down with three wheel barrows of earth in each tyre) that have been laid in six rows on the south and west walls of Candy’s emerging home.  Now underway for 2 weeks under the watchful eye of project manager Sean from Agari Farm, family team Disch, brother Barrie, nephew Miles, sister in law Maree.  Candy’s son David has come over from USA and with brother Robbie will be helping out next week; sister Holly coming in October.   A truly family affair.  Lock up is hoped to be achieved by February.

Top of the hill

Project Manager, Sean and Owner Builder, Candy on top of the world!

A straw bale workshop will be held early next year, volunteers welcome: to be put on the mailing list,


Steamy weeding

Member Benjamin Smith says: “As a community we’ve agreed to protect and maintain the health of our members and ecosystems, and manage the land using organic and Permaculture principles. We aim to minimise, and ideally eliminate, the use of poisonous substances and nominate alternatives to the use of poisonous substances on the Community Land where possible.

“Recently, we welcomed Ben Larson of Weedtechnics to the Narara Ecovillage for a second demonstration of how their system can control weeds with the application of saturated steam. The no-chemical approach aligns nicely and we’re checking it out to see if it proves efficient and effective as we spend a lot of time maintaining this beautiful piece of land which has adopted us”.

“The Weedtechnics mob have been at it for a while and their equipment is well engineered, superheating water at pressure and then delivering it as a low-pressure saturated steam (at 98-100degrees) which is supposed to send the plant into thermal shock. That it is used worldwide speaks volumes (mainly Australia, NZ, Canada and the USA), by councils here and overseas (Leichhardt Council has been using it for more than 20 years and others…), horticultural enterprises, organic farms, water companies, schools, land care groups, contractors, hospitals, and retirement villages (maybe one day ecovillages as well!).

Ben Larson was hard at it with our weedy swales, grass covered garden paths, garden beds, roads and the heritage steps which should come up nicely after its second treatment. It certainly is an impressive piece of equipment and we’ll keep an eye on things to see how effective it is.

Pictured below is Ben in action and we’ll update with some pictures in coming Network News to show what worked and what didn’t.

Steaming Heritage steps

Steaming swales


Narara Ecovillage joins international network

GEN network

Member Andrew Oliver writes: Our village has joined an international association of ecovillages – the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), co-house and intentional communities that connects us with thousands of like-minded people around the world.

GEN International is comprised of five regions – GENNA, CASA Latina, GEN Africa, GEN Europe and GENOA (Oceania and Asia). Within GENOA is GEN Australia.

Christiana Figueres, Costa Rican Diplomat, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said recently in an interview with the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN): “We are entering into a world of rapidly increasing need for resilience. This need can be best addressed by those who live in awareness of themselves, of others and of nature. Ecovillages nurture this alignment by deepening the intentionality to live our lives in a way that is more reflective of our highest values, to develop more authentic relationships with those around us, and to practice behaviors that are more respectful of our planetary boundaries.”

As a ‘demonstration’ ecovillage it is important for us to recognise and be part of this international collective, which does great work raising awareness of our common goals internationally and offers access to substantial resources and benefits.

For more information  or  Andrew is also a representative to the GENOA general assembly.


Huang House

Huang House

The Huang family house is well underway by natural builder company, Viva Homes.  Not much to see at the moment but Vanessa reports poured earth foundations are completed, laying of floor joints and bearers is underway, and husband John is currently putting underfloor insulation, polyester wall batts

Windows and straw wall panels have been ordered, with a single coat of render already applied on both sides of the panels. Viva will be running rendering workshop mid to late Oct for the panels and a cob wall.  More details in the next Network News.

Spring is in the air!

In Spring many birds appear with bright new plumage, in preparation for the mating season.

Crimson rosella

A magnificent Crimson Rosella.


Young male fairy wren

A young male Superb Fairy Wren with his “Royal” blue feathers just beginning to appear


Male fairy wren

A mature male Superb Fairy Wren who kept his blue feathers throughout the winter- moving fast, so the picture a bit blurry.

Samantha Graham is Mindful at Mamas

Sam and us

Carly, Linda, Toni, Donna, Katie (back row) with Sam (left front) and Mikala

It was a great opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most popular health and wholefood advocates as they came together to generously share their knowledge and passion, for a very important cause: stopping the Wallarah 2 coal mine, planned for the Central Coast.

Narara Ecovillage member and spouse of John Talbott, Project Director –  Samantha Graham, was the final speaker at this popular event.

A former performance trainer to The South Sydney Rabbitohs, Samantha shared with us some advice and tips for juggling full lives and finding peaceful times in between.  We took the opportunity to have a group photo as it was a rare treat to catch up with Samantha, busy running her successful State of Mind practice. More information:

No waste at Matcham/Holgate produce share:

Once a month a new venture opens the gates at Firescreek’s Winery, 192 Wattle Tree Road, Holgate.

Started by local Meg McGowan, with long-time friend of Narara Ecovillage, Kerry Anderson, the idea is to come together to share surplus produce, time, knowledge and skills and promote a strong, resilient, healthy community.

Basket of goodiesFree waterlilliesMegan explainingKerry Anderson

A feature that is being introduced is free workshops; learning about biochar, molasses and all kinds of other organic gardening techniques.

Any funds raised have been donated to Wildlife Arc, who recently brought along a flying fox and an orphaned baby wallaby that needed bottle feeding; both big hits with the kids.

Says founder Meg: “Please come along and say hello at our produce share events. They need you to survive and thrive. You can bring produce from your garden, including vegies, fruit, herbs, eggs, honey, home baked goods and preserves, seeds, seedlings, cuttings, potted plants and cut flowers. If you don’t have anything to contribute you’re welcome to help us with setting up and cleaning up instead, or just call in and have a look around, meet a few more local people and hopefully make some friends. In time, we hope to be able to offer workshops or talks to expand the concept of sharing, because we’re aware that there’s so much knowledge among valley residents and plenty of people happy to learn new skills”.

A plastic free event that encourages visitors to bring re-usable bags.

Produce shares operate under the umbrella of the gift economy, an alternative way of transacting with others that has generosity at its heart. A produce share is a place where local people bring their surplus produce and give it away to others. We operate according to three principles: 1. Give generously with no expectation of a return 2. Receive gratefully with no obligation of a debt 3. Share fairly with others so that nobody goes without.

The thinking behind this model is that generosity benefits everyone. Those of us that grow food don’t end up with waste, and an unwanted glut, and those that receive it get access to free, healthy, local produce. Best of all we get to meet each other, to make new friends and to learn more about how to grow food in our own area.

At our foundation are the ethics of permaculture; Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share.


Play School – Sat 6th Oct, 10am

Play School

Join Jemima, Big Ted, Little Ted and Humpty as they travel through an enchanting adventure filled with stories and favourite songs.

Further information and tickets ($25.40) at the website link

Location: The Show Room, Mingara, 12-14 Mingara Drive, Tumbi Umbi.

Blues Jam – Sun 7th Oct 2018: 2-6pm

Musos at Hardys Bay

The 1st Sunday of every month the Central Coast finest blues musos come and join forces to play out on the deck surrounded by beautiful bushland. Free and Family Friendly!

Hardys Bay Club, 14 Heath Road, Hardys Bay: 4360 1072


Michael Jackson: The Legacy Tour – Fri 12 Oct 2018, 8pm

Michael Jackson tour

Legacy, the world’s greatest tribute to the world’s greatest entertainer…Michael Jackson.

William Hall becomes the King of Pop when he hits the stage with his full-scale production of Michael Jackson The Legacy Tour. The show, produced and endorsed by previous members of Michael Jackson’s crew, is a visual and musical voyage through the artistic life of the 20th Century’s most respected and idolised entertainer. The choreographed dance moves, live band and multi-faceted light show promises to repeat the Michael Jackson experience. With international shows across Europe, Russia, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, William Hall is as close as you will get to experiencing the King of Pop.

Location: The Art House, 19-21 Margaret St, Wyong

Bookings: Emily Miller on 02 4335 1485 Cost: $54-$65

Free Tax Help

Tax pic

Are your Tax affairs simple?  Do you earn $60,000 or less?  If you answered yes to both, then you can get free help with your tax return from a Tax Help volunteer at Tuggerah Library, Westfield Shopping Town, 50 Wyong Road, Tuggerah.

Every Tuesday until Tuesday 30 Oct 2018, 10am-1pm

Bookings & Enquiries on 4350 1560


See you at the village sometime soon!

warm regards,

Linda Scott

Contacts and More Information

The Narara Ecovillage project currently comprises two entities. The Narara Eco Living Network Inc. is a not-for profit incorporated association that promotes sustainable living. It serves as a “Friends of the Narara Ecovillage”. Its brief is both local and global.

Membership is open to all, and costs $20 an individual or $40 a family for 12 months. Membership gives free admission to all Narara Ecovillage Open Day tours and talks, and provides discounts on special workshops and tours. The Network organizes regular talks, tours and events. You can join at any Open Day, or on-line anytime at: Narara Eco Living Network Inc. and Facebook:

The Narara Ecovillage Cooperative Ltd. Is a Co-operative formed to develop the Narara Ecovillage.

Membership costs $30,000, and requires the intent to purchase a lot at the ecovillage and to contribute a minimum number of working hours.

Contacts: Narara Ecovillage Co-operative Ltd., and,  or email:

The Narara Ecovillage is located at 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.